LUC Students Spill the Tea on Their Favorite Classes

Bota Tulegenova admired the multiple perspectives in her anthropology class.] Courtesy of Mao Reynolds

By: Mao Reynolds (Loyola Sophomore)

At first glance, game theory, economics and theology seem unrelated. However, they share one thing in common — they’re all subjects of some students’ favorite classes at Loyola University Chicago.

Loyola offers over 80 majors and employs over 600 full-time faculty members, according to the Undergraduate Admission Office.

Senior Amanda Olson, a biochemistry and math major, said game theory is her favorite class this semester. Her class, which falls under the math department, is taught by Professor Peter Tingley.

“I go to his office hours all the time,” Olson said about Tingley. “He’s willing to explain anything — doesn’t matter how dumb it is.”

Olson said she likes the course’s emphasis on group work.

“He gives us the start and lets us figure it out, which kind of sounds crazy,” she said, “but it works.”

Tingley’s favorite class to teach is also game theory, he wrote in an email to RogersEdge Reporter. He said the department works hard to make classes engaging and was happy to hear that students appreciate it.

“It uses all kinds of interesting math to solve both fun and practical questions, what more could you ask for?” Tingley wrote.

Another math major, sophomore Grant Deraedt, said his favorite was an Introduction to Religious Studies course he took last semester.

“It ended up being about different puzzle pieces of what religion is and what certain thinkers thought of religion,” said Deraedt, who also majors in philosophy.

Loyola students are required to fulfill both theological and philosophical knowledge as part of the university’s Core Curriculum. The fields often overlap, including in classes, like PHIL 271: The Philosophy of Religion.

First-year Kayat Taydas recommended his favorite class, economics, for a wildly different reason: he said his professor reminds him of his dad.

“I think he’s Greek, and my dad’s Turkish, and they have a similar accent,” Taydas said about Professor Demetrios Komnenos. “It’s kind of wholesome.”

Kayat Taydas noted a Levantine likeness between his father and one of his professors. Courtesy of Mao Reynolds

In an email to RogersEdge Reporter, Komnenos said he draws on real-life situations to make economics more approachable for students.

“By the end of the semester, if not earlier, I see on my students’ faces the excitement created by the learning process,” Komnenos wrote. “It is a great experience to work together with my students!”

First-year Bota Tulegenova said her favorite class is an introduction to anthropology, taught by Prof. Thea Strand. Even if students aren’t interested in different cultures, Tulegenova said, the class can help them apply different perspectives to their own lives.

“Everyone just gets to speak on personal experience,” she said. “I think that’s why it’s important.”

Community was also important to forensic science major Jennifer Ramirez, who said her favorite class was criminal justice with Dr. Mike Vecchio.

“He doesn’t make it like we have to go against one another when we talk about politics,” Ramirez said. She said the class was intriguing, especially since she grew up learning about forensics.

Future teachers like elementary education major Charlotte Reed have favorites, too. Reed, a senior, said her women and gender studies class — which she took as a first-year — opened her eyes to different perspectives.

“I know I’m a feminist at the core, but exposing myself to so much else was really cool,” she said.

Whether students love their classes for the subject matter or professor, being interested in a class makes the workload more approachable.

“Being open-minded and being as worldly as possible is really important as an educator,” Reed said.

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